Using Overtype Mode

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 16, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Overtype mode is an editing mode in which everything you type replaces something else in your spreadsheet. Many word processing users will be familiar with the concept of overtype mode. When overtype mode is active, and you type a letter, it replaces the letter to the right of the insertion point. When overtype mode is not active, your text is inserted where the insertion point is located.

Excel allows you to use overtype mode when you are editing the contents of a cell. You can tell when overtype mode is active in two ways. First, by the effect it has on the contents of a cell (as described in the previous paragraph). Second, the status bar will have an indicator that says OVR. This indicator is at the right side of the status bar.

To turn on overtype mode, you first need to start editing the contents of a cell. Once you are editing, press the Ins key. The OVR indicator should appear on the status bar, and what you type will replace the existing contents of the cell, one character at a time.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2028) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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